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What’s the biggest challenge you face on projects?

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

What’s the biggest challenge you face on projects?

  • Our teams or leaders are disengaged: 20%
  • Scope creep: 33%
  • Internal politics: 33% 
  • Loss of resources mid-project: 8%
  • What we build simply doesn’t work: 1%
  • Other: 5%

Politics, Scope, and Disengagement. The big three killers of projects are all controllable factors. Reducing political issues on a project is a function of aligning goals and building consensus on project goals and resources. Managing scope creep requires rigorous chartering and change management processes. Preventing disengagement comes down to showing team members how their contributions matter and putting the right incentives in place. Don’t let your project fail because of things you can control. By taking a rigorous approach to managing these issues, you can prevent your project from becoming the next corporate dumpster fire.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of  the upcoming book “The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”